The mathematics of the Bio.Diaspora Project

Julien Arino

The potential role of the global air transportation system in the fast and widespread dissemination of an infectious pathogen was emphasized by the SARS epidemic of 2003. The Bio.Diaspora Project was initiated in Toronto a few years later. Our objective is to develop a better understanding of the architecture and dynamics of the commercial air transportation network and use this knowledge to assess risk to various health entities in the case of a newly emerging or reemerging infection. In this project, we make use of several types of mathematical objects and approaches. Network theory is used to study the architecture. Metapopulation-type models formulated as continous-time Markov chains are used to simulate the spread of infection. Tesselations are used to evaluate population densities. In this talk, I will discuss the global air transportation network and present some of the tools used in our project.